The Friday discovery of a five-foot chunk of what might be one of the planes that hit the Twin Towers was guaranteed to prompt some conspiracy theories, and the New York Post has a report on the first of them. Surprisingly, it was not generated by 9/11 truthers — and it also doesn't seem totally impossible. A lawyer for Muslim community center Park51 — better known as "the Ground Zero mosque" — claims that the piece of Boeing landing gear was planted in the narrow alley between 51 Park Place and 50 Murray Street by opponents of the project. "We are also looking at the possibility that it was lowered by a rope," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in response. "We are not ruling it out ... there’s a rope that is intertwined in the part itself."
NBC New York reports that Kelly noted that "there were no marks on the buildings indicating the piece hit the walls on the way down. 'It would have had to fall down at a certain angle,' [he] said." On the other hand:
Asked whether he was surprised to see such a large plane part anchored in such a tight area, Kelly said: "If you see how confined this space is, and you realize the chaos that existed down here on this street, it's not surprising. It's very, very confined. No cleanup went on in this 18-inch space between these two buildings."
As the NYPD announced yesterday, the site is being treated as a crime scene until at least Monday, when investigators will check it for toxins and human remains. Police officials say that actually removing the piece of debris presents a challenge that "may require demolition work that would destroy the two surrounding buildings." Once its retrieved, they'll be able to see its "clearly visible" serial number, which the National Transportation Safety Board will then try to match to their records of American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175.